The Covid-19 Corruption Risk Assessment Report 2021 has cited Head of Virology at Noguchi Medical Research Institute, Prof. William Ampofo for conflict of interest in the controversial Frontiers Healthcare Services contract.
According to the report, Prof. Ampofo who is cousin to President Akufo-Addo and Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, supervised the validation of Frontiers Healthcare Services to commence its operations in Ghana even before the company could get approval.
The Corruption Risk Assessment Report said that his involvement as local agent was with no obvious value to the performance of the contract.
The 67-page report by the Community Development Alliance said that the company appears to have been hurriedly incorporated to take charge of Covid-19 testing at Kotoka International Airport (K.I.A) as it has no record of ever providing such services, did not have the requisite personnel and had not been licensed by the regulator, HeFRA.
“Dr. William Ampofo, Head of Virology at Noguchi Medical Research Institute (coincidentally a cousin of President Akufo-Addo and Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta) oversaw the validation processes for Frontiers Healthcare to begin the antigen tests at a time approval had not been secured, with Frontiers relying principally on the use of Noguchi staff,” the report revealed.
President Akufo-Addo on September 1, 2020, announced the reopening of Ghana’s airports after a five-month closure of all air, land and sea borders to halt the spread of Covid-19.
To prepare for resumption of passenger flights, the government awarded a contract for the conduct of Covid-19 antigen tests to Frontiers Healthcare at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA). Non-ECOWAS passengers coming to Ghana by air were required to pay $150 for a 30-minute PCR Covid-19 test administered by Frontiers Healthcare.
JoyNews’ investigations revealed that on the same day (September 1, 2020), the Ghana Airports Company Ltd. (GACL), a wholly owned state entity, granted Frontiers Healthcare license to run their operations. The contract granting Frontiers Healthcare license to operate was signed the same day they began antigen testing at the KIA.
The Report which was conducted between March and April, 2021 raised red flags over breaches of the Public Procurement Act as well as the Health Institutions & Facilities Act of 2011 (Act 829).
“The qualification criteria on basis of tenderers possessing professional and technical qualifications and competence, financial resources; equipment and other physical facilities; managerial capability, reliability, experience in the procurement object and reputation; and the personnel to perform the procurement contract,” Section 22 (1) (a) of the PPA Act specifies.
Also, Section 11 (1) of the HeFRA (Act 829) states that, “a person shall not operate a facility unless the facility is licensed under this Act’’.
The Covid-19 Corruption Risk Assessment Report 2021 recommended that the Government of Ghana among other things, publish all public contracts by using open and competitive bidding and use emergency non-competitive
processes only when followed by adequate forms of control, auditing and reporting scrutinizing.
It also proposed the publication of beneficial ownership information of companies that are awarded contracts.